The other day I saw this great chart by Tomasz Tunguz on churn:
The numbers above are exactly what I’ve seen and heard over the years. Since Bidsketch customers are usually small businesses, we’re constantly working to improve churn.
A while back I improved our cancel feedback by changing the cancellation process.
While this was better than a free-form text field, we still had a big problem: over 50% of our churn was in the Not Using it Enough category.
When we followed up, we found that there were multiple reasons for this, but I felt like we weren’t getting the whole story.
A few weeks ago I was listening to an interview of Patrick McKenzie on the Bootrapped.fm podcast, and heard my name being mentioned.
Andrey (one of the hosts) mentions that he was reading my blog and found that I made launching and growing Bidsketch sound easy:
“It’s kind of like, ‘I announced it on Twitter, now I’m in beta and the beta is 600 users. Now I’m out of beta and it’s three months in, and I’m making $1,000 a month.’
This has been the experience of reading blog posts about how to launch a SaaS app, but this has never been my experience of launching a product.”
So I went back through my old blog posts and read through them. Sure enough, reading through those posts it sounds like I had no trouble launching and growing my first real product.
But it wasn’t easy; it took a ton of work and I almost quit a few times.
So I’ve decided to write about how many times I failed to get traction, or almost gave up, on the way to my first $1,000.
Getting useful cancellation feedback from customers is tough.
The problem is that once people have canceled, they’re no longer engaged and will rarely spend the time to give you feedback. One of the best things I’ve ever done to combat this with Bidsketch was to add a mandatory freeform text field that says:
Please help us improve by stating the reason (Required)
Sure, some people enter blank spaces or random characters, but the majority make an effort to say something semi-useful. A small percentage will write truly useful comments that can lead to some sort of action.
To analyze the data I import the comments into a Google spreadsheet and add a few columns to help me segment them. Continue reading
Most of the info you’ll find on hiring is meant for large companies or startups with funding.
What if you’re bootstrapping?
While you’re not going to be competing with Google or Facebook for the same people, you still want developers that can do high quality work to help build your product.
The post that follows covers what I’ve learned about hiring high quality developers while bootstrapping Bidsketch over the last three years.
Last month Bidsketch had the biggest increase in revenue it’s ever had.
Before that, the biggest increase in revenue came when FreshBooks emailed a million people and mentioned Bidsketch as a new integration.
I got so many new sales notifications that day, I thought someone had hacked my server. It was nuts. (This was easily a 10x return over simple top of the funnel strategies like giving away templates for proposals and contests we’ve tried in the past.)
Last month’s increase in revenue was double that one.
Conversions and traffic didn’t increase, though. Nope, the reason I saw this kind of growth was because I redesigned my plans and increased pricing for new signups.